Enchanter is a singular manga, one which really can come from out of left field and smack you upside the head, leaving you surprised and very entertained. This series sets itself up from start to finish as an ecchi story which includes a bit of violence, meaning that both of the big two plot points (real death and real sex) can happen. Which still doesn't prepare you for what it ends up doing.
You see, the initial tale is that of a gageteer genius high school student named Haruhiko, who (due to the standard "accident") is imbued with the mystical toolmaking powers
of a powerful Enchanter. This Enchanter is currently magically trapped inside of a soulgem, and happens to look exactly like him. However, the demon partner/lover (Eukanaria) of this Enchanter wants Haruhiko's soul extracted and destroyed so that she can put the rest of her lover's soul into Haruhiko's body. The conditions for extracting a soul happen include sex. Which funnier because she a) starts living with him, and b) looks like Haru's childhood crush, who he can't touch because she's a teacher at his school. Which means plenty of restrained sexual tension and deadpan jokes about virginity, especially in the early bits. Later on, the humor tends to focus more on just how bad the main characters are at keeping the various aspects of their situation secret, as the "in-crowd" gradually expands to double-digit numbers. The end result is a highly entertaining manga with well-integrated fanservice, something to write home about. I lol'ed quite a few times.
Oh, and he fights demons with his powers too. Surprise...
...Is pretty much all I would have after finishing the first volume. But that's not all there is to this manga. You see, the author of this manga does a pretty mean plot. By which I mean an awesome one. My favorite arc uses the soul-stealing aspect of the overall story in a very clever way, by introducing a human who is also constantly struggling with a demon for control of her own body. The catch? She's also a total jerkass. Not only that, we meet the demon first, and she's kind, charitable, loving, and a former dead baby (in the most serious way possible). Honestly the more sympathetic of the two. Which brings about a phenomenal story arc pondering over his and her right to exist, examining the inherent moral contradictions in several "right" views held by different characters. And it doesn't take the easy way out, but stays morally ambiguous all the way through and forces the characters to commit themselves and confront the issue head on.
The story quality isn't just limited to that one arc either. Enchanter plays the moral contradiction card a lot, usually setting up characters and motivations in a relatively inoccuous early arc in preparation for intense moral struggles as many as 3 or 4 volumes later. The net effect is that, often as not, you don't see the moral dilemmas coming, but can still appreciate them once they come.
This series was one of the bigger surprises to hit me in the last year or so. If you have time, I seriously recommend checking it out. Buy the manga, peek at the scans, whatever, but do give it a chance.
Enchanter was a manga I found hidden away on a top shelf in the far corner of a small recreation store. I was looking for some manga worth buying, and just happened to notice its rather old dusty cover on the highest shelf. It was in fairly poor condition, old and slightly tattered, and the cover wasn't exactly spectacular. I skipped through a few pages, read the description on the back and said, "bah what the hell, I'll give it a gamble." I took it home, read through it that night in bed, and was back to buy volumes 2 - 10 the next day
(all they had unfortunately). This manga has probably been the biggest surprise of my reading career, as being funny, having colourful characters, and having a surprisingly interesting storyline.
Enchanter's plot revolves around a character named Haruhiko, who is a fairly standard lead for this kinda thing, big hearted and good with machines, but terrible with women. He has a crush on his teacher / childhood friend (oooo combines 2 cliches, nice) Yuka, who's a ditsy big breasted woman with a heart of pure white gold. She also, being a teacher, doesn't really associate dating with her students as a good thing (though it never says she doesn't like Haruhiko), so at first its kinda about his struggles to get the woman of his dreams to notice him. But one day, a girl comes along, who happns to look EXACTLY like Yuka, named Eukanaria. This Eukanaria happens to be part demon, and it also turns out that the body of her master / love interest, Fulcanelli, is gone (but she still has his soul) and that Haruhiko happens to have the exact same body as him (what're the odds). Anyways, Eukanaria wants to get Fulcanelli back by any means possible, so she decides that shes gonna put his soul into Haruhiko's body, because hes the perfect host. So, there are a couple of ways of doing this (killing him, using a complicated spell), but the easiest way we find, is to have sex with him... So Eukinaria's plot usually revolves around her trying to get into Haruhiko's pants.
Now of course this isn't the only part of the story, there is the action part to it. This part is, Haruhiko gains some of Fulcanelli's powers, and as such is able to create many weapons and tools that can do any various sorts of things. To the authors credit, these stories are done really well, he uses the idea behind it to create many interesting scenarios, and the battles are usually tense and action packed. There are, as well, many little sub plots going on here and there, that only add to the overall atmosphere to create a very interesting read that you wouldn't quite catch at first glance. There's a lot of perverse fan service, but even that is done well, and you get some really funny jokes about any variety of "18 + " material. Overall the story definitely makes the books worth reading / buying.
Now the art and characters are fun to write about. The art, for the most part, revels in gross exaggeration of the female body. I mean seriously, girls with absolutely massive breasts in skimpy clothes everywhere, which isn't uncommon in this line of reading, but still noticeable. Still, the art looks very nice, shifting well from panel to panel, and having an overall good feel about it. The characters too are... drawn to be exaggerated. Not just the women either, the men all generally look handsome and have a rippling chest and huge biceps to boot. Haruhiko, while not supposed to be weak or a nerd by any means, is supposedly a regular kid, trying to become something of a techy inventor or engineer or something. But take off his shirt and he is built like a tank. Ok.. enough about shallow looks, each character personality wise are pretty interesting. Haruhiko is likeable, being good and honest and bad with women, but not a total loser like some animes try to force down our throats. Eukinaria is extremely up front... so much so that you can't help but realize she is just some fantasy born up through the mind of a some Japanese pervert, but is overall funny and an amusing character to watch. The rest of the cast is colourful and original, and its hard to find a character that one can dislike. Overall the characters are a great asset to an already stupendous story.
So from the top, Enchanter is a perverse, silly manga about demons trying to sleep with human teenage boys, so that they can create weapons to protect them... And I wouldn't have it any other way. A definite recommendation goes out to Enchanter, pick it up if you can find it.